The Serenity of Lake Apo

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Lakes have always fascinated me. I think it’s the water’s mysterious character that pulls me in — how you could not really tell how deep it is and what lies underneath. How the surface that perfectly mirrors the sky is quite enchanting too. The only other lake I have seen was Lake Sebu in South Cotabato. So when Jun asked if I wanted to check out Lake Apo, I immediately said “let’s go!”

I have seen photos and videos of Lake Apo on social media. One friend had a picnic along its banks but when I asked about the place, I was told it was private property. Jun found out that a portion of the lake is open to the public so we decided to hit the road to Valencia City, Bukidnon.

Beautiful Valencia

Valencia City is the center of trade and industry of the Province of Bukidnon. The rolling hills and expansive plateaus of this land-locked province earned it the moniker Food Basket of Mindanao. Valencia, in particular, is a major producer of sugarcane and rice. Central Mindanao University (CMU) is also located in Valencia City.

Breathtaking Lake Apo

Lake Apo is a large crater lake in Barangay Guinoyoran, about half an hour from Valencia’s city center called Poblacion. Coming from Davao City, you need to pass through the scenic Davao-Bukidnon Road (BUDA) and all its cafes, restaurants and vacation homes.

The concrete road leading up to Lake Apo is easily passable and quite scenic. Light vehicles can travel through the roads without issue. However, I recommend a 4×4 vehicle if traveling during less than favorable weather.

Approaching the entrance to the park, you will only catch a small glimpse of the lake behind thick branches of trees. The expansive lake (about 24 hectares) is in fact a crater lake, with volcanoes located a short distance from it. Back in 1990s, Lake Apo was named the cleanest inland body of water in the region.

The area accessible to the public is quite small but the view definitely makes up for it. Even with people milling about, the lake remains serene and beautiful. The kids were so excited to see a lake. It was B’s first time and Adie was about B’s age when we took her to Lake Sebu.

What to Do

If you are looking for adventurous pursuits, Lake Apo is not for you. But if you are looking for some quiet time or a simple picnic, this place is perfect. There are tables for rent and you can also rent one of the raft huts for a picnic on the water. The latter intrigued us but all rafts were rented when I inquired. The caretaker said fishing is also allowed during favorable conditions.

There is a large al fresco cafe under construction on the hill overlooking the park. It’s in the final stages of construction so I think it’ll be open the next time we visit. I was informed that the area will also serve as a function area for events. A very romantic and enchanting lakeside wedding comes to mind.

The area right across the park is private property. You may rent it for exclusive gatherings and events. Just imagine a rodeo-themed party by the lake with campfires and desirable weather. Just thinking about it excites me.


As of this writing, Lake Apo does not offer any food concessions. That may change when the cafe opens but I recommend taking food when you visit. Valencia has plenty of places to dine including popular fast food joints like Jollibee, McDonald’s and Chowking.

I would also recommend slapping on some insect repellant. There were a few mosquitos flying about when we were there. Dengue fever is always a threat in the Philippines. Sunscreen, of course, is already a given.

Afternoons seem to be the best time to visit Lake Apo. And while you’re in the area, don’t miss other places of note. The Monastery of Transfiguration, aka the pyramid church is just a scenic hour away. RR Family Resort and their freshwater swimming pools are just a turn or two from the highway.

Have you visited Lake Apo? Send us some photos on Facebook and let’s share memories! See you around!


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